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Mailbag: “Duck Dynasty (Heh)” Edition

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Do you guys remember that Sports Illustrated cover with the Ducks that said, “Rich, Cool, and 4-0”?

NCAA Football: Stanford at Washington Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Facts about Ducks, Oregon, and football fans...

  1. Ducks have three eyelids on each eye.
  2. Ducks with fancy head plumage, which are popular at farm shows, are the result of inbreeding and are at a genetic disadvantage; if two Ducks with fancy head plumage mate, the resultant offspring are frequently stillborn, or suffer other birth ailments that leave them disabled.
  3. Male ducks have springy, corkscrew-shaped penises that can reach 16” in length, and females have a corresponding spiral-shaped vaginal canal.
  4. There’s a Latvian phrase that translates in English as “to blow little ducks.” It means to tell lies or nonsense.
  5. Ducks are actively involved in a Sexual Arms Race; approximately a third of all duck sex is forced. Female ducks are constantly evolving means to avoid getting pregnant through rape, and male ducks are constantly evolving ways around those means. The rape, or attempted rape, often occurs during flight, and is frequently fatal to the females.
  6. Homosexual necrophilia has been observed among ducks.
  7. Captive ducks have been known to resort to cannibalism out of boredom in specimens as young as four weeks old.
  8. In parts of China, jellied ducks’ blood is a food delicacy.
  9. In 2006, an Australian attempted to sell New Zealand on eBay. Not related, but funny.
  10. Young ducks are prone to imprinting - that is, assuming the characteristics of the first animal they see. There is at least one known case of a duck imprinting on a cardboard box.
  11. The most beloved of all the Ducks are Donald and Daffy.

Whatever. Moving on...

Dawgfan:

What is the healthy amount of football to watch each week? State your answer with and without soccer.

UWDP: For me, the “healthy” amount is the amount I can watch and still stay married.

I do everything without soccer, so answering this question need not be an exception.

Rhaego:

Was Brostek injured?

80sIMADawg:

Any news on Shane Brostek? I personally think he might be slightly injured, and they just felt they wanted to save him for the D*cks. What do you think?

Rick Anacaona:

Huskies played three different athletes at RG: Brostek in the first half (mostly), Harris in the third qtr & Sosebee in the fourth. Was that the result of injury, performance or rotation?

UWDP: Shane Brostek probably played his best half of football as a Husky in the first against Stanford. I didn’t notice that he didn’t finish the half, but others have pointed it out here. I did, however, notice he didn’t start the second half, and saw him standing on the sideline without his helmet. That’s usually a sign that a player isn’t going to be going back into a game.

Nick Harris started the second half (and likely played in the first as well, but I didn’t see it). He mostly did okay in his matchup with Solomon Thomas of Stanford, but was physically overmatched a time or two. He was called for holding late in the third quarter, and Jesse Sosebee finished out the game at guard. The timing of Sosebee’s insertion in the lineup may’ve been surreptitious, or possibly the coaches thought that Harris was struggling more than I did.

Brostek is listed as the starter for the Oregon game, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. He didn’t appear to be dramatically injured on the sidelines Friday night, so we’ll have to see how he is down in Eugene.

RunningFaster:

Did Stanford just have an off night, or are our Huskies really as good as they played?

Rhaego:

Circumstances or disparity? Why did we beat Stanford so bad?

TheDawgBrother:

We can safely say Stanford was the best defense we've faced so far this year. But in absolute teams, are they considered better than mediocre on D? Essentially, is our offense REALLY THAT GOOD, or will we not know until Utah (or maybe UCLA in championship game?). They pass the eye-test, but I can't help but think the stats are a little inflated.

UWDP: I think Friday night was just “one of those nights” for both teams. Washington grabbed the momentum very early in the game, and held it all four quarters.

Credit Washington for a good game plan, for coming out intense and focused and maintaining it almost all night, and mostly for just being the better team. Stanford is still a good team, and I doubt you’d see the same result again if the teams met nine more times.

That said, Stanford, even if fully healthy, is probably not as good as people expected coming in to the season. There are several factors, but I think that the largest one by far is that the offensive line simply isn’t nearly as good as it was the last few years. It’s not as big, it’s not as physical, and it’s not as athletic. That dropoff keeps Stanford from being able to dictate the terms of the game when the Cardinal has the ball, and exacerbates every weakness and limitation the team has. On both sides of the ball, really.

Washington’s offense is really, really good, especially if the zone running game is finally getting on track the way it seemed to be against Stanford. There’s still not near the flash of other teams in the country, but the Husky offense is incredibly efficient.

Dawgfan:

Which schedule miss is most helpful to the cause? Also, does one of those teams win the South?

UWDP: Raise your hand if at the beginning of the season you thought missing Colorado and having to play Utah was a good thing.

In the South, Colorado misses the Huskies and Cal. Utah misses Stanford and WSU. Both of those teams avoid games that are very likely losses, and one that could reasonably go either way. Both of those teams made out pretty well. UCLA also doesn’t have to play Washington, but they miss the Ducks, and the way things look up in Eugene, that’s not quite as enviable right now. But things could change.

Colorado gets UCLA, ASU, and Utah in Boulder, while Utah has to travel to UCLA, ASU, and of course, Utah. I’m not 100% sold on Colorado quite yet, but the south could come down to that Utah-Colorado game in November.

DropTheHammer9:

The Ducks are desperate. This next game is their season. Win and you have something. Lose, again and it's a downward spiral. Any chance the Huskies overlook the Ducks after a week of hype and likely a top 6 AP ranking?

RunningFaster:

Oregon looked pretty beat up last night (I saw at least 3 Ducks having to be escorted off the field with some kind of injury or another). Offensively, they certainly look a bit more Arizona-like (though, really, I think they look about like Portland State, except not as capable against Wazzu), with Prukop's running ability having the potential to cause us some concern. But he doesn't seem to have the top-end speed that Dawkins displayed, so I'm having a hard time being particularly worried about this game. Our coaches will have our guys zeroed in, and our O-line's success against Stanford should have given them the confidence they need to continue being dominant. With all that in mind, how much of a challenge will Oregon prove to be?

PsyDawg:

Long time blogger, first time mailbagger. 6'4, 235, I played offensive and defensive line in high school. So this was the exact scenario heading into the D**k game I was hoping for, not expecting, and fearing the most. The Huskies with everything to lose and the Zeroes with nothing to lose. The elephant in the room is, oh my god, what if the Zeroes extend their streak and shatter our dreams at the same time? What are some "keys to the game" for the Huskies on offense and defense that will help them avoid that horrible nightmare??

dawgfan22:

Do you think the dawgs will manage to stay hungry after such a huge win and go into Eugene without an emotional let down?

El Rojo Grande:

After all the hype so far this season the way the Dawgs played on Friday has raised the hype to a new crazy level (especially given the recent UA game play). Next week at Autzen vs a duck team that seems to be cratering is there any chance of a let down, even with ending the 12 year streak finally seeming attainable?

hrsportsfan:

I've been a loyal fan since I was a young boy in the 1970s (and an alumni, Class of 1990). Should I be nervous about the Oregon game? The last 15 years or so have taught me to take nothing for granted. Even after our win over Stanford, and watching what appears to be Oregon's early stages of demise, I can't help but be nervous.

UWDP: I for one am incredibly nervous about this game on Saturday. In my head, Washington wins the matchups across the board: the Washington defense is better than Oregon’s offense, and Washington’s offense has a huge advantage over the Uck (no D in Eugene) defense. Oregon is in the midst of its longest losing streak in a decade and seems to be on the verge of collapse, while the Huskies are flying high while just seeming to hit their stride.

In my heart, Oregon is dangerous. The offense still has a multitude of talented running backs. If Justin Herbert gets the start, a fresh face could galvanize the team and both sides of the ball could rally around him. The game is in Autzen, and the longer the score is close, the bigger that home field advantage becomes. A terrible defense wouldn’t have to become dominant if it can be opportunistic. And in the entire decade of my thirties, the Huskies never once managed to beat the Ucks.

The reason that the Huskies are going to win is that they have an adult running the program. I’m not necessarily a huge fan of Chris Petersen cutting off the players from talking to the media (only because a part of me thinks he should change absolutely nothing about the team’s normal routine for this week), but I pretty firmly believe that he’s going to be able to keep this team grounded for this week. And keeping the team away from the media might just look like a genius move come Saturday night.

2003Husky:

With Louisville losing and McCaffrey getting completely shutdown, would it be a stretch to say that it is actually likely that Browning gets an invitation to NYC. We are still set to play some awful pass defenses that may boost his numbers even more. Not saying he will win...but projecting right now today, will he be in the top 3 by season's end?

UWDP: I don’t think there’s any chance Jake Browning is in New York when that award is given. Maybe he’s in the top 8 or something, but he’s just not going to have the eye-popping numbers this year.

Browning is incredibly efficient, leading the country in passer rating. He’s third in the country in TD passes. He’s in the top 10 in yards per attempt of guys that have thrown 100 or more passes. But he’s 45th in passing yards, and nowhere to be seen running the ball. In the end, there are too many guys like Lamar Jackson and Deshaun Watson that are going to put up bigger numbers from the quarterback spot, while also playing for good teams.

Dawgfan:

Which Huskies make the All PAC12 team?

UWDP: First Team: All-American Sidney Jones, Budda Baker, Greg Gaines, Chico McClatcher (as All-Purpose player).

Second Team: Azeem Victor, Elijah Qualls, Psalm Wooching, Darrell Daniels, Jake Browning, Myles Gaskin, John Ross.

Honorable Mention: Keishawn Bierria, Jojo Mathis, Kevin King, Kaleb McGary, Coleman Shelton, Trey Adams, Dante Pettis.

Rhaego:

How many 5 star recruits in the 2017 class? In 2018?

UWDP: Zero in 2017, unless Marlon Tuipulotu is given a fifth star. Two in 2018, with Jacob Sirmon being one.

2003:

Your guess right now for how many starters on this defense are still here next year?

UWDP: Well, we know Psalm Wooching, Jojo Mathis, and Kevin King are exhausting their eligibility. Sidney Jones is undoubtedly gone. I think Budda Baker leaves as well, but that’s it. So six returning starters.

Dawgfan:

What was the point of having security "guard" the west end zone? Also, which Dawgpounders were making "field" angels?

UWDP: The security guards are there for the sake of appearance. If nobody was there and somebody got injured, the outcry would’ve been “Why didn’t the UW do anything to stop it from happening?” Since they were there, the narrative would’ve been shifted had someone gotten injured; it would’ve been the “unruly students.” Yes, the UW would’ve gotten some blame, but it would’ve been dramatically mitigated. By people in ugly coats standing around and doing nothing.

13inarow:

How can the huskies survive?

UWDP: Well, if there’s a water landing, their seat backs will act as flotation devices. So, there’s that.

RunningFaster:

The look Oregon wore last night was announced as "Men of Oregon", per their Twitter feed. "Men of Oregon in Tights" is what it looked like to me. I kept waiting for them to break out in song and dance... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G59JnM4JKNQ Wazzu's uniform looked pretty cheap, and their shoulder flashes looked like strips of duct tape. The helmets looked badly spray-painted. Whose uniforms were uglier? (And thank God for the Huskies' uniforms and colors...though we all may sometimes disagree on some of the details, overall they've always looked classy!)

UWDP: Oregon’s were uglier, and it wasn’t close.

jhfstyle24:

After crushing Stanford with Foster in attendance, plus the electric atmosphere, do you think our chances improved?

UWDP: It didn’t hurt, for certain. But I don’t think that one game is going to do much to sway him one way or the other. Based on no information whatsoever, I think he’s already made up his mind, and he’s really just looking for things to confirm his decision.

Huskytude:

Lots of speculation about several Juniors going pro after this season, any insight to how some of the younger players developing? A breakdown by position group? GO DAWGS!

UWDP: The Huskies are most definitely going to be needing some new defensive backs this time next season. Thankfully, it’s the deepest spot on the entire team. Taylor Rapp has seen a steady rise in meaningful playing time. The coaches have had positive things to say about Jordan Miller at cornerback. Austin Joyner is playing this season obviously, but probably won’t be back to full strength until 2017. On the offensive side, both Andre Baccellia and Aaron Fuller are playing well in meaningful snaps at receiver. Nick Harris has played quite a bit on the offensive line, and has potential once he gets bigger. K.J. Carta-Samuels hasn’t taken a “meaningful” snap yet, but he looks much improved over the 2015 version.

There are still a lot of sophomores playing, with big roles. My biggest concern right now is at linebacker. Ben Burr-Kirven hasn’t had as big a role as he did last season, and nobody has really stood out as an heir apparent for either Azeem Victor or Keishawn Bierria. That’s the one to watch for me right now.

dawgincostarica:

Positively 'giddy' after Friday's game but now with UJean on the horizon... Is the duck defense really as bad as they showed versus Wazzu last night ? Did Wazzu actually 'run' up 300 yards on the ducks ?

UWDP: The Uck (there’s no “D” in “Eugene”) defense has been dreadful. The thing is, there’s no real reason for it to be as bad as it is. Yes, the recruiting hasn’t been lights-out, but it’s not like Oregon is scrambling for a bunch of scrubs after missing out on its top targets; there’s average talent on that roster. They can easily fill out a two-deep roster with guys that all had multiple offers from big-name schools. There’s youth playing, sure, but it’s not significantly younger than a lot of teams that aren’t playing bottom 100 defense.

There’s just more to it than talent. I don’t think the change from a 3-4 to a 4-3 explains it. Yes, right now, they are as bad as they’ve shown. But they shouldn’t be.

2003Husky:

If the huskies blow the doors off this weekend, is this Helfrich's nail in the coffin? (I think our defense's nickname is quite appropriate, particularly for the opposing HC...ex. the USC game last year...etc). The only thing that worries me this weekend is that Helfrich knows the only way he keeps his job is by beating us. Seems like a blowout might mean he won't coach another game at Oregon, and a close loss might just make him a dead man walking until the end of the season.

UWDP: I don’t think Oregon is going to fire Mark Helfrich on the way to the locker room after the Ucks (there’s no D in Eugene) lose to Washington, if that’s what you mean. It might may mean the decision to let him go will be finalized, but I seriously doubt there’s going to be a mid-year change. Yes, he might be a dead man walking after the game.

If Oregon does make a coaching change, it’ll be really interesting to see how much appeal the job really has. I can’t see the current roster makeup being particularly appealing to a wide variety of candidates. If a change is made, a complete shift in what Oregon does offensively could very well come with it, and that could mean a period of transition that Oregon can’t afford as well as other “name” programs could.

Husky fan in cougar country:

While at boise it seemed chris peterson teams would always lose a game they had no business losing, was this due to bad luck or coaching?

UWDP: Chris Petersen coached at Boise State for eight seasons. He went undefeated twice, and had another team lose its bowl game for the only loss of the year. He had a down year in 2007, with sub-optimal quarterback play. He had a bad year in 2013. He had two one-loss seasons when a midseason upset cost the Broncos a shot at something pretty big, and a two-loss season that would probably fall in the same category (one of the losses was in Boise State’s annual “big” game to start its season, at Michigan State).

Going undefeated is really, really, hard. It’s even harder when you’re the biggest game on the schedule for just about every opponent you play.

Maybe Petersen got outcoached in those games. There was probably some bad luck. You don’t want to see it, but it happens. Not many teams make it through a long season undefeated, ever.

Fry-n-pan:

How much of the improvement in the offense is due to Jeff Tedford?

UWDP: 16.3%, precisely.

There’s no way to know. I’m sure he’s been a benefit to the team. I’m also sure that Jake Browning is playing lights out at quarterback, and he’s received no coaching from Jeff Tedford. I personally think Browning’s play is having a lot more impact on the success of the team than anything Tedford has done.

Chris Petersen’s offense is humming along quite nicely right now. With efficient quarterback play, that’s been the norm in his 10+ years as a head coach.

It’s nice to have Tedford around; he’s a good football coach. I’m sure he’s contributed to the team.

80sIMADawg:

Do you think Oregon will try to up tempo us as much as Arizona did to try to stop our defensive substitution? If so, will it help them?

dawgfan22:

The d_cks will surely be watching the Huskies game film vse AZ. Will we be prepared for that and their hurry up offense?

Mike Pitzler:

Do you think Oregon will try to use the HUNH to wear out our DL?

UWDP: I’m sure that Oregon will want to play fast, because it means that the offense is rolling. The Ucks (there’s no D in Eugene) are largely seen as the pioneer of the high-speed offense, but they really don’t run it as often any more. Certainly not as consistently. It’s usually after a first down, and they’ll keep at it until they bog down. Then they’ll substitute, slow down, and hit the reset button.

Arizona runs faster than Oregon does. They substitute less frequently, meaning the defense has fewer opportunities to do likewise. Yes, Oregon will want to keep Washington’s defensive line on the field for as long a period as possible. The easiest way to stop that from happening is to force a punt.

Oregon is 74th in the country in number of plays run per game. While that doesn’t equate exactly with pace of play, there’s definitely a correlation.

RockDawg:

How did our defense's performance against this Heisman hopeful compare to the 1981 defense's performance against Heisman winner Marcus Allen? I've not been able to find that box score, hopefully you have a source I don't know about

UWDP: The Huskies actually did reasonably well against Marcus Allen on that cold, wet November afternoon, holding him to “only” 155 yards on his 38 rushing attempts. In the first quarter of that game, Allen became the first player to surpass 2,000 yards rushing for a season, but the Huskies managed to hold him out of the end zone and knock the Trojans out of Rose Bowl contention with a 13-3 victory. The Huskies had a total of 120 yards of offense that day; USC had 182.

OsidePup:

The Ducks scored 33 points against WSU. When was the last time UW won a football game when the opponent scored at least that many.

UWDP: 2014, against Eastern Washington. Huskies won, 59-52.

karth295:

How do we matchup against Bama?

UWDP: Pretty well. Washington’s defense is better than Alabama’s offense, and Alabama’s defense is better than Washington’s offense.

80sIMADawg:

Do you think the extreme crowd down down at Arizona helps us when we travel to Autzen because we have now experienced something similar and overcome? Or is playing there a whole new level?

UWDP: Autzen has the potential to be far louder and more hostile than Arizona. It likely will be, to start the game. The longer the Ucks (there’s no D in Eugene) stay in the game, the louder and more involved the fans will be (well, duh).

But there’s also a certain level of fair-weatherness, or at least entitlement, that’s developing there; if (when) Washington takes the lead, fans will quickly start putting on their empty seat costumes.

Getting ahead early will turn Autzen into a tomb. Oregon fans aren’t going to watch the fall of their streak.

UWFAN99:

Thoughts on the running game?

UWDP: It showed up big the last two weeks, just in time for conference play.

We saw a lot of success with Lavon Coleman in particular running the power play against Arizona. Against Stanford, Myles Gaskin was able to slip and slide through the Trees behind the zone blocking scheme. That was great to see.

JoeinWSea:

When will SBNation (or UWDP if you guys have the ability) add D**ks and O****n as auto-censored words?

UWDP: I certainly hope not. It’s dumb, and it gives far too much respect to the Ucks (there’s no D in Eugene).

80sIMADawg:

Will Oregon be able to score more than 21 against our defense?

UWDP: Without a doubt the Ucks (there’s no D in Eugene) can score in excess of 21 points against UW’s defense, regardless of who is playing quarterback for Oregon. The team is struggling, the defense is horrible, but the offense is still really, really good. By S&P+ (a per-play measure of offensive efficiency), Oregon’s offense is ranked 5th in the country.

Will Oregon’s offense score 21 or more points? That probably comes down to turnovers and how long the Huskies hold on to the ball. Oregon may not get all that many opportunities on offense on Saturday.

OsidePup:

Are we likely to hold Oregon to fewer points than our defensive game ave. for the season to date?

UWDP: Washington is giving up an average of 12.8 points per game right now. No shutout in the history of Husky football would give me more satisfaction than one on Saturday (even if the final was 2-0), but if I had to bet an amount of money I couldn’t afford to lose, I’d take the over on that one.

The question is do the Ucks (there’s no D in Eugene) give up more than the 36.2 points they’ve allowed per game?

80sIMADawg:

We have had very few fumble lost or interceptions through 5 games. Can we keep that up down there? What is our current turnovers created/turnovers lost ratio?

UWDP: The Huskies currently have 15 takeaways and only four turnovers for a margin of +2.2 per game. The Ucks (there’s no D in Eugene) don’t give the ball away much, nor take it away much.

The Husky defense and special teams have been very opportunistic, and on offense, the Huskies have simply taken good care of the ball. There’s nothing too secret or fancy about it.

Jake Browning has gotten away with a couple of passes that should’ve been intercepted, though. It’s going to catch up to him at some point, and I wouldn’t be all that surprised if it’s at Oregon. The Huskies are good enough to afford turning the ball over once or twice, but they can’t suddenly become careless.

Dawg:

Do you think Oregon make a move similar to what LSU did and look for a new coach? I don't think the current staffs is going to be able fix the issues at hand. Their biggest issue is that they can't develop a quarterback. Umm... their defense is an issue too. But as we husky fans know changing coaches isn't always the answer. Firing of lambright only led to the destruction of husky football. Nearly 15 years later Petersen finally has us out of the hole and in position to get us back to be playing for championships (at least it looks that way). Kelly isn't doing well with the 49ners. Do you think Kelly returns back to Oregon like Reliy went back to OSU after his brief appearance in the NFL?

UWDP: The Ucks (there’s no D in Eugene, in case you haven’t heard) may very well be looking for a coach. And like I said, if they do, it’ll be really interesting to watch.

Their inability to develop quarterbacks is absolutely puzzling to me. It’s not just that they haven’t been able to replicate Marcus Mariota, who was a truly great college football player; they haven’t even managed to create a credible threat. They’ve gone after top dual-threat prospects, and they’ve even signed a handful of them. But none have even looked like competent Pac-12 signal callers.

I don’t think Chip Kelly comes back, no. Maybe that’s just wishful thinking. He was downright scary at Oregon. The 2014 Oregon team may have been the best team from that small Oregon town, ever. I don’t care enough to argue either way. Regardless, it was one of the best teams Oregon’s ever had. But to me, the 2010 team was far more troubling as a Husky fan. There was simply no good reason for them to be as good as they were, other than that they were such a machine. In 2014, Oregon had the best player in college football (Mariota), a great running back that everyone knew was great, and still had the remnants of the underrated defenses Kelly put together. They could’ve won it all, and that would’ve sucked for me as a Husky fan, but it was a one-off. It wasn’t going to be replicated, without finding replacements for those key cogs. In 2010...man. That just looked different.

dawgincentralwa:

will we see a stack of o'brien and wooching in the oregon game?

UWDP: It’s not uncommon for them to be in the game at the same time. In fact, those were the starting outside linebackers against Stanford.

If by “stack” you mean both of them playing on the same side, I doubt it. The only way I could see that happening is some strange formation by the Ucks (there’s no D in Eugene).

OsidePup:

Is there any chance that the Dawgs have supplanted the Ducks as ESPN's favorite PAC 12 team? Or has that honor now been bestowed on another PAC 12 team other than UW?

UWDP: ESPN is catering to its fans. And as has been mentioned before, there’s something of a lag in fandom; if the Ucks (there’s no D in Eugene) absolutely crater in 2016, there will still be a rather large Oregon following. It will take a few years of them being down for them not to be a fan favorite.

Right now, Oregon is one of the teams with a dedicated fan blog on ESPN. As soon as it stops getting views, it’ll disappear.

The Huskies have a good chance of stepping into that void, at least from teams in the North. But simply due to market size, it’s more likely that it’s at least temporarily filled by one of the LA schools. And that same lag that exists on the backside of fandom also exists at the front. Washington will have to be good for more than just one year before they become a true darling.

ElvislovesUW:

If Oregon players/fans try using mind games this Saturday; how does Washington keep composure?

UWDP: That could be a real issue, as I’m sure Husky players want to win this game pretty badly, even if they aren’t going to say it.

Thankfully, they’ve got the right man in charge to maintain focus.

(anonymous):

How is the mood in Oregon after that L to the Cougs?

UWDP: I haven’t heard much from the players, but things are certainly testy amongst Uck (there’s no D in Eugene) fans. There’s a divide growing over Mark Helfrich, there’s significant angst over the defense, and now there’s a potential quarterback controversy.

There might even be something between members of the coaching staff brewing as well (although it’s just as likely it’s much ado about nothing); from a recent article about the starting quarterback situation:

(Quarterbacks coach David) Yost said Herbert has closed the gap with Prukop in practice, and when asked why the Ducks wouldn't just play the QB with four years of eligibility remaining versus the one-and-done Prukop, Yost said, "that's a good question for Coach (Mark Helfrich)."

Rhaego:

Trying to keep my feet on the ground. We are still going to lose a game this regular season... right?

When we lose, what aspect of our team will we point to as the reason?

UWDP: I don’t want to say it has to be so, but the odds overwhelmingly suggest they will. Even if the Huskies had a 90% chance to win each of their games, that only works out to less than a 50% chance of going undefeated.

I can’t speculate as to what we’ll say until it happens. But if it’s due to a poor offensive showing, I’m willing to bet a significant portion of my Internet millions that Jonathan Smith’s name is mentioned at least once.

Demoralizing Defense:

I love how much Coach Pete and Co value building depth. Now that we're 5 games in, how much have the Huskies been rotating in the 2nd and 3rd string guys? Last year we heard a lot about their hockey style substituting, especially on defense. Have they been doing that again this year? And who have been the guys outside of the starters getting the action?

UWDP: There’s been a lot of rotation along the lines with Vita Vea, Damion Turpin, and Jaylen Johnson frequently spelling Elijah Qualls and Greg Gaines. At outside linebacker, Tevis Bartlett and Conner O’Brien are seeing significant minutes. There hasn’t been near as much rotation at inside linebacker, which is something of a concern (at least to me).

At safety, Brandon Beaver and Taylor Rapp are getting a lot of snaps, Rapp in particular.

Ragu:

I'm worried about the ducks because of one thing: Maybe we are good at beating powerful, big teams like Stanford and USC, but maybe we don't handle the up tempo and speedy Oregons and Arizonas and ASUs... Is that reasonable?

Stewak:

I keep hearing our defense is more suited to stop Stanford than a spread offense. Yes, Arizona found a few plays, but this doesn't ring true to me. Isn't or defense suited more for spread offense in that they are fast, comfortable in space and can tackle one on one?

UWDP: This year in particular, the Huskies’ defensive line is particularly adept at handling plays at the point of attack, that’s true. There isn’t the same amount of speed we saw last season with Cory Littleton and Travis Feeney. That doesn’t mean the Huskies can’t stop the spread option attacks by any stretch, especially with the way they’ve been willing to line up in Cover 1 and bring safeties like Budda Baker and Taylor Rapp into the run equation. And the cornerbacks play exceptionally well against the run.

We didn’t see it last season against the Huskies, but Arizona actually has a pretty good offense. The Ucks (there’s no D in Eugene) absolutely have a good offense. Those teams are going to score points. And big plays happen; that’s just life.

This Husky defense is built to stop any kind of offense.

Rhaego:

Are we the fifth best team in the nation? Better? Worse? Smell test.

UWDP: Exactly fifth. Not higher, not lower.

I have no idea. There have been a handful of meaningful matchups, but there just hasn’t been enough football played yet.

The Huskies are a good team. I’ll take that right now. Happily.

Olystubbie:

Is there anyway u guys can post the depth charts. For some reason having trouble finding them weekly. Thanks

UWDP: It’s published each week as part of the game notes on gohuskies.com at the beginning of the week. Here it is for this week:

http://sidearm.sites.s3.amazonaws.com/washington.sidearmsports.com/documents/2016/10/3/16FBRelORE.pdf

Adam Jude links this as well in the seattletimes.com football blog.

Andrew:

Google couldn't help me, but can you remember the last time the dawgs had a ~10 minute drive? Where does that rank on the best uw drives in your memory?

UWDP: That was the fourth 9+ minute scoring drive in Husky history, and actually the second longest. The longest was against Oregon in 2005, at 9:52. Then the nail against Stanford on Friday at 9:47. In 1999, Marques Tuiasosopo led a 9:31 drive in the fourth to put away Arizona in Tucson. In 2009, Jake Locker and the Huskies held the ball for 9:19 to score at Notre Dame.

Ragu:

What should we expect from Oregon fans when we are down in Eugene? (For those of you there, we will have a tailgate)

I need some clever quips and comebacks for Eugene this weekend. Prepare us in study hall.

UWDP: You’re going to find whatever you go looking for.

It’s fun to vilify Uck (there’s no D in Eugene, I’ve heard) fans as being “the worst in the history of fans ever, all time, in any sport.” I’ve personally seen very little of it in my five trips to Eugene (without a D). There was a minor amount during the late stages and after the game in 2002 after a big UW win. But even then, I tailgated after the game and was either left alone or had decent interactions with their fans. Since that time, I haven’t seen anything, and Oregon fans haven’t been significantly different than fans anyplace else I’ve been. Maybe it’s just me.

You don’t need clever quips or comebacks. Go, cheer like hell, enjoy the game, and the vast majority of people in the stadium are either going to ignore you or provide neutral interactions. If (when) the Huskies win, act like you’ve been there before. Give the ball to the ref, and go celebrate with your teammates.

Rhaego:

What could have possibly happened between Arizona and Stanford to produce THAT?

UWDP: Nothing special. The Huskies’ defense gave up a couple of big plays to the Arizona offense. After the first quarter, Arizona didn’t exactly drive down the field at will. The line cleaned up a few things as far as gap integrity, and voilà, domination.

Arizona’s offense is far more explosive than Stanford’s.

Benno:

Best played game since when? I simply can't remember a game when we dismantled an opponent as good as Stanford unless I go way back. Perhaps the Miami game in 2000?

UWDP: The game versus Miami is certainly in the conversation, but it doesn’t quite rise to the same level. The outcome certainly does, but the Huskies took a big lead that day and then had to hold on as Miami made a big comeback (aided in part by a couple of really dumb plays by the UW offense).

As far as complete, total domination of a quality opponent, I have to go back to the 1990 game against USC - the “All I saw was purple” game.

Rhaego:

Why am I already feeling anxiety about the apple cup? I don't think I could handle going 11-0 and then stumbling. I don't think I can do it.

UWDP: It would certainly suck to have the season spoiled by the Cougs. At this point, any loss is going to suck.

I don’t want to think about it, because the thought really, really sucks. And it’s in Pullman, and no matter what happens up to that game, WSU is going to be a dangerous team.

Hoyt4UW:

Anyone know which bar in Eugene will be the designated UW gathering spot? Going to game with three buddies to (hopefully) see the streak end and want to enjoy with other DAWG fans. GO DAWGS!!!

UWDP: Anyone want to chime in?

Ragu:

My first season was 0-12; Started from the bottom now we here. Why am I already dreading the next fall? Why can't I enjoy the rise to prominence again?.... As I am typing this, I am realizing we are 5-0, not 12-0. I'll shut up now.

UWDP: Because you’re a worrier, just like me. I’ve gotten better about it as I’ve gotten older, but yeah, I can’t avoid peeking ahead as well. Almost always with a less-than-stellar scenario playing out...

SDHuskyfan:

Oregon often (in the past) plays a closer first half and then dominates during the second half. How do we guarantee we rip out their hearts and stomp on them in the first half so KJ can get snaps in the second half?

UWDP: The Ucks (there’s no D in Eugene, guys) are going to come out pretty fired up, and the crowd is going to be in the game, no doubt. Washington has to be ready for that initial storm, and maintain confidence even if (when) a break or two goes Oregon’s way.

Going into Friday, I thought the way to beat Stanford was to come out throwing the ball and put them in a hole early. Against Oregon, I think the way to kill their spirit is to run it down their throats from the opening. At the same time, Chris Petersen’s teams build their leads with the pass, and then run to win. There’s no reason to expect the game plan in the first half to look different than it did on Friday.

Patently Purple:

So... Jonathan Smith?

UWDP: My opinion of him hasn’t changed in the slightest. He’s doing a good job of running Chris Petersen’s offense.

Patently Purple:

So... Psalm Wooching?

UWDP: He had a great game, didn’t he? The game plan put him in position to make some big plays, and he took full advantage. Good for him.

Pioneer Square Husky:

Brayden Lenius was only suspended for the first 3 games this season, and we haven't seen anything of him through 5 games. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Google) produced only one quick question and answer with Coach Pete where he didn't give any real info on Lenius' status. Do you or any of the writers have some insight on whether Lenius will get back on the field?

UWDP: At this point, who do you want to see less of in order to get Brayden Lenius playing time? John Ross? Dante Pettis? Chico McClatcher? Maybe Andre Baccellia or Aaron Fuller, but I’m not too sure even on those two.

Lenius made some nice plays last season, but he wasn’t a world beater by any stretch; nothing he’s shown to date guarantees him playing time. He needs to earn it. Apparently, he hasn’t yet.

UWdadVanc:

What is with the punt protection this year? Why do the Huskies not have 3 guys back close to the punter like virtually every other team I see? It's not as if the new plan is working since they've almost been blocked multiple times. (I know 'almost' still isn't blocked, but I don't think any of us want to see punts be that close to being blocked because sooner or later a punt will be blocked.)

UWDP: It’s a good question. I don’t know the answer. Well, conceptually I do: the formation with three men in protection sacrifices coverage, and substantially so. The coaches seem to want to prevent the big return as a momentum play as opposed to ensuring the less-likely punt block momentum play occurs. Part of it is on Tristan Vizcaino; he’s been a little lackadaisical on his rugby rollouts.

Having three men protecting isn’t really a requirement to protect the punter. The Huskies can achieve the same result with one guy in protection if the line holds its blocks a bit longer before releasing.

Dan Arnold:

How will UW adjust to the noise level at Autzen... besides taking the crowd out of it early with quick scores? Road games, especially at Autzen, are difficult because it can affect the ability to change the play at the line. In particular this hurts a cerebral, knowledgeable QB like Jake Browning. We saw this in the Arizona game where at the very least, it takes more time to communicate those changes.

UWDP: The answer is hand signals and sight adjustments from receivers. And eye contact between Browning and the rest of the team. But you’re right, there’s certainly some potential for noise to affect the ability of the offense to audible.

Dawgs:

Our last rose bowl was in the 2000 season. We finished 3rd in the final postings. But both Oregon and Oregon state finished in the top 10 too. Do you think that was the toughest conference overall or was it the benefit of playing 8 conference schedule? Maybe that's why the sec does well in the rankings they only play 8 conference games which makes the overall records look better. Washington's only lost that season was to Oregon. If everything fell the same this season would you take it? On another note do you think we were screw the 2000 season as we didn't play in the championship game, despite being the only team who had beaten each #2 Miami and #5 Oregon State and having the same 10-1 record as Florida State who played in the championship game. Their only regular season lost was to Miami. What if Stanford continued to win and we lose one game to Utah but beat them in the championship game. Utah wins out to and wins their at large bowl in a new year bowl game. Do you think we still make the playoff or do we get screwed again?

UWDP: I think 2000 was an example of an extremely top-heavy Pac 10. UW, Oregon State, and the Ucks (there’s no D in Eugene) all finished 7-1, and nobody else finished with a winning record in the conference.

Would I take a loss to Oregon to ensure an 11-1 season? I’ve actually been thinking about that for a couple of days, honestly. I can’t answer right now. I’d say no, because the thought of losing to Oregon just kills me. But at the end of the year, when the Huskies are in the Rose Bowl at 11-1, I’d say yes. It’s actually the right answer. Right now, though, I want to play the odds.

I think the 2000 Huskies were one of the luckiest teams I’ve ever seen in my years of watching college football. Sure, they made many of their own breaks, but I think eventually those breaks were going to even out, at least a little, and likely against a really good team. The good thing about not playing in the national championship game that year is that Husky fans get to keep the debate. We can always claim we got screwed.

If the rest of the season plays out like you suggest, I think a one-loss Husky team could make the playoffs, but some other teams would need to lose as well. I don’t think they’d be able to climb all the way into the top four without at least a little bit of help, but only insofar as a normal year in college football plays out. Nothing outlandish.

Patently Purple:

Is this by far the most questions you've ever received for a week?

UWDP: Yes, but next week could top it. We’ll see.

It’s time to get serious, people. There’s no D in Eugene, but there is an O in Oregon. Pluck an Uck, just to be sure.

GO DAWGS!!!!!!!